Everton 2 Macroom 1
EVERTON kept their hopes of winning promotion from the U14 Second Division, and potentially landing the title, alive when they defeated a spirited Macroom side 2-1 at Coffey’s Field.
First-half goals from Steven Geary and an OG were enough to earn Everton the three points, with Ray Griffin getting a late consolation effort for Macroom.
The home side started on the front foot and they were quickly rewarded for their approach when they took the lead inside the opening minutes.
There was a strong hint of good fortune about the goal, from an Everton perspective, as, under pressure from the attackers, Nathan Daly could only turn a bouncing, dangerous cross from the left flank past his own goalkeeper.
Macroom, to their credit, responded well to that setback and they almost levelled the scores immediately, but after racing on to a hopeful pass over the top, Griffin’s low drive was saved well by the feet of goalkeeper Michael Shapy.
The game soon became quite cagey and competitive and Everton went close to doubling their lead midway through the first half.
Their excellent winger Billy Higgins, who caused the opponents’ rearguard problems all morning with his pace and directness, surged past a couple of his markers, but his poked effort past the advancing keeper was cleared before crossing his line by the recovering Daly.
The visitors twice threatened moments later, but shortly after Billy Coleman sent a superb strike from the edge of the penalty area inches past the far top left corner, neither Noe Kollar nor Manase Manjoiha could head home Griffin’s clever clipped cross to the back post.
And those misses would prove to be decisive as with the first period of play drawing to a close, Everton doubled their lead thanks to Geary.
Good work in the build-up by Higgins allowed him to fire a shot towards goal. His shot was well blocked by the defenders, but it deflected kindly into the path of Geary, allowing the number 10 to emphatically drill the rebound just inside the near post.
Higgins would almost add an incredible third before the interval, but his acrobatic bicycle kick dropped just the wrong side of the left post; then he forced a stunning save from Kuba Ciaston when one on one with the shot-stopper 15 minutes into the second half.
A tame second period seemed to suggest that a composed Everton side would see out the game with relative ease, but Macroom set up an interesting last quarter of an hour when Griffin’s hit from distance found the back of the net.
They did everything they could to make it 2-2 but it just wasn’t to be as Cian O’Sullivan sent a long-range free just over and Everton’s Michael Shapy bravely denied Kollar in injury-time.
EVERTON: Michael Shapy, Jack Walsh, Colm Barrett, James O’Brien, Tommy Higgins, Kian Gahan, Ryan Gahan, Jamie Buckley, Trevor Howe, Steven Geary, Billy Higgins, Warren McCarthy, Adam Barrett, Mohammed Khlaf.
MACROOM: Kuba Ciaston, Ray Griffin, Cian O’Sullivan, Shane McCarthy, Evan Molyneux, Nathan Daly, Regan Wong, Billy Coleman, Manase Manjoiha, James O’Mahony, Gavin Leahy, Chi Okafor, Noe Kellar.
Referee: Ryan Hennessy.